Drivers warned of sleeping cat danger this winter

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Motoring experts at are warning car owners to be vigilant before heading off as cats may be found sleeping under vehicles on winter mornings. The experts say drivers should check around their cars in the morning as cats may be sheltering from the frost underneath the vehicle or even in the wheel arch above the tyres.

A sleeping cat could be seriously injured or even killed if a car pulls away before they have had a chance to flee.

Each year thousands of cats are killed and injured on UK roads and the experts say many of them may have been sheltering against the cold under vehicles.

With winter approaching and Britain braced for months of brutal weather all car owners are being asked to be on the lookout for pets before they get behind the wheel.

It is not only cat-owning motorists who should be on the lookout, according to the experts, as pets don’t only target their owner’s cars for shelter.

With December temperatures typically in the range of zero to four degrees, now is the time to check before a journey in case a neighbour’s cat has taken shelter beneath a vehicle.

Cats love to hide under cars and vans as they feel protected against cold winds and biting frosts. They can also gain warmth from the vehicle’s engine if it has been recently running.

Tim Alcock from said: “No driver wants to be responsible for the death of somebody’s beloved pet cat.

“But on these cold mornings, it’s important to bear in mind that someone’s furry friend may be peacefully slumbering under the car.

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“We’re asking every driver to spend a couple of minutes checking for any pets that might be lurking around the tyres or under the car.

“If you do find a cat under the car give it a nudge or shoo it away before turning the engine on and gently pulling away.

“It’s important for all drivers to be aware of this and not just those who own cats. After all, cats don’t just target their owner’s cars for a snooze. Any vehicle is fair game to them.

“Accidentally harming a neighbour’s cat could seriously damage relations with the neighbour themselves and could lead to all kinds of bitterness and other issues.

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“So it really is worth taking a few minutes each morning to make sure there are no cats under the car. Unlike dogs it isn’t a good idea to let sleeping cats lie.”

Motoring experts are also urging drivers to follow a number of useful tips in the run-up to Christmas. One of the most important things drivers can do before travelling in winter is to plan the route home in advance.

Although drivers may think they know where they’re going, it’s always best to double-check directions to avoid driving around unknown roads in the dark and harsh weather.

It’s also a good idea to plan route alternatives in case the original route is not accessible because of the harsh weather.

The weather also has a massive impact on how motorists should drive over the winter time. Drivers are encouraged to check the forecast before setting off to avoid driving in any adverse conditions – and be prepared to cancel or amend plans if the weather is too dangerous to drive in.

The Highway Code says drivers should not travel in snowy and icy conditions unless the journey is essential, and before setting off drivers must be able to see.

Drivers should also clear all snow and ice from all of the windows and keep them demisted, ensure mirrors are clear, the number plate is visible and lights are fully functioning.

On top of that, breaking down in the winter can be very dangerous, because of the extreme weather and darkness.

It’s a good idea to pack an emergency breakdown kit in the car just in case any accidents happen.

Drivers are encouraged to pack a foil blanket, spare clothes and shoes to keep warm. Food, water and a phone charger are also good essentials to pack.

A torch, jump leads, shovel and de-icer are again good emergency breakdown kit ideas for winter.

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